Towards Osaka Blue Ocean Vision - G20 Implementation Framework for Actions on Marine Plastic Litter

Republic of the Marshall Islands

Actions and Progress on Marine Plastic Litter
Last Update : 2023/03/14

Policy framework

National Action Plan

Legislation for the prohibition of (I) single use plastic bags, single use Styrofoam plastic cups and plates (II) container deposit legislation 2016

Brief description:
Law bans manufacture and importation and use of; single use plastic bags, Styrofoam products such as cups, plates, single use plastic cups and plates; Container deposit legislation introduced recycling of PET bottles and pay refund fees for all recycled PET bottles.

Legal framework

Waste and Pollutants Regulation:
Recycling Regulation 2021




Prevention and reduction of plastic waste generation

Charge for single-use plastic products (e.g. shopping bags, straws)

Names of actions:
Styrofoam Cups and Plates, and Plastic Products Prohibition, and Container Deposit Act 2016:

Part 2, section 503 – Prohibition on the importation, manufacturing, sale or distribution of Styrofoam cups and plates, disposable plastic cups and plates, and plastic shopping bags.

Part 2, section 504 – Any person, who violates Section 3 of the Act, shall be guilty of an offense and upon conviction liable for up to six (6) months imprisonment or ten thousand five hundred dollars ($10,500) fine, or both.

Targeted products:
Styrofoam cups and plates, plastic cups and plates and plastic shopping bags

We have seen a positive improvement over the last two years
Actions for encouraging sustainable / circular product design
Names of actions:
Styrofoam cups and plates, plastic cups and plates, and plastic shopping bags: Part 2, section 503, paragraph 2 – Nothing in this Section shall prevent a person from importing, manufacturing, selling or distributing use recycled paper bags or reusable shopping bags.
We have seen a positive improvement over the last two years



Environmentally sound waste management

Enforcement of proper waste management system

Solid Waste Regulations, Part VIII: Violations:

  • A person who violates any provision of these regulations or any permit, requirement or order issued thereunder, shall be subject to enforcement by the Authority.
  • The enforcement action may be any or all of the following:
    1. Revocation of a permit issued under these regulations;
    2. The making of a cease and desist order in relation to the subject matter of the violation;
    3. The imposition of a civil penalty, fixed by the Authority, not exceeding $10,000 for each day on which the violation continues
    4. The institution of civil proceedings to restrain the violation; and
    5. Any other action authorized by the National Environmental Protection Act 1984 or any other law
  • Public hearing:
    1. When the Authority revokes a permit or a cease and desist order is made under regulation 35 b) (i) or (ii), or both, a public hearing shall be conducted by the Authority to determine the authenticity of the facts upon which the order was made.
    2. Adequate notice of the hearing, and an adequate opportunity to appear and be heard at the hearing, shall be given to all interested persons.
  • Penalty for lack of permit:
    1. Any person required to have a permit under these regulations and engaged in an activity without such a permit shall be subject to a civil penalty of $100.00 per day for each day the activity is conducted without a permit.
We have seen a positive improvement over the last two years
Prevention of littering, illegal dumping and unintentional leakage of waste into the ocean

Names of actions:
Marine Water Quality Regulations 1992, Part V, Marshall Islands Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (MIPDES):

MIPDES Regulations – For the purpose of establishing general and specific criteria to limit point source discharges of pollution into the marine waters of the Republic, a system for issuing, modifying, revoking and reissuing, terminating, monitoring and enforcing MIPDES Permits shall be set forth by the Authority by public regulation.

Part VII – Pollution Control Requirements:
General requirement:

  • Any person who initiates any project with may represent a new or increased source of pollution, either point source or non-point source, shall first obtain written approval of the Authority that the project will not directly or indirectly impair any beneficial uses of the affected marine waters.
  • The Authority may place conditions on the construction or operation of the project, or both, as necessary to mitigate or eliminate any adverse water quality impacts associated with the project.

Marine Sanitation Device:

  • Marine sanitation devices shall be installed on all vessels with toilet facilities and shall be designed and operated to either retain, dispose of or discharge sewage.

Sewage Discharge from Vessels

  • The discharge of sewage, whether treated or not, from any and all vessels into marine waters is completely prohibited. Hazardous substances

Hazardous substances:

  • It shall be in violation of these regulations for any person to store, dispose of or allow to accumulate any hazardous substances in such a manner that the substances may enter the marine waters of the Republic without first obtaining written approval of the Authority.
  • Such substances include, but are not limited to petroleum products, pesticides, radioactive substances, biological substances and toxic chemicals.
  • The Authority may require persons handling hazardous materials to implement measures to reduce the possibility of contaminating the marine waters of the Republic.
  • In the event of an accidental spill or discharge of hazardous materials, the responsible person shall immediately notify the Authority and take all reasonable measures to contain the material so that it will not contaminate the marine waters of the Republic
  • Failure to notify the Authority within 24 hours and failure to take reasonable mitigation measures shall each constitute a separate violation of these regulations.
  • Nothing in this Regulation with respect to petroleum products shall be construed to limit or supercede the oil pollution control requirements in Part VII of these regulations
We have seen a positive improvement over the last two years



Cleanup of marine plastic litter

Collection of scattered waste on beach


RMI EPA is not responsible to collect scattered waste on beach, however, in RMI EPA’s regulation it states the following:

Part IV – Solid Waste Management Responsibility:

Public activity – A person sponsoring any public activity, including charitable, fundraising, recreational, civic, sporting or entertainment events, is responsible for the collection, storage, transportation and disposal of all solid waste generated as a result of the event. Solid waste shall be collected, removed, and disposed of in an approved solid waste disposal facility.

Littering – No person may deposit solid waste in, on or along a road right-of-way, street, trail, turnaround, drainage structure, water of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, public recreation facility or any other public or private property, unless
i. Such property is an authorized solid waste disposal facility; or
ii. The solid waste is deposited in a public litter receptacle.



Promotion of innovative solutions

Policy actions for encouraging plastic alternatives (e.g. biodegradable plastics, circular product design – including use of recycled materials or closed-loop recycling)

Names of actions:
Styrofoam cups and plates, plastic cups and plates, and plastic shopping bags: Part 2, section 503, paragraph 2 – Nothing in this Section shall prevent a person from importing, manufacturing, selling or distributing use recycled paper bags or reusable shopping bags.
“reusable shopping bag” – shopping bags which are not plastic that can be reused many times, including local baskets; this is an alternative to plastic shopping bags.
We have seen a positive improvement over the last two years
Public-private partnerships for creating and implementing innovative solution

We have seen a positive improvement over the last two years

Grocery stores as well as other shops have been using boxes, paper bags or local bags as an alternative as well as ordering their own reusable bag to sell to customers for use.



Education and awareness raising

Education system for encouraging public awareness on MPL issues

It’s currently in progress, however, so far RMI EPA has been presenting to the local governments as well as other relevant stakeholders’ in the importance of reducing marine pollution from land-based resources as well as developing a plan to address the marine pollution issues.  
Awareness-raising campaigns related to MPL

National level:

Names of actions:
As aforementioned, RMI EPA’s team have been presenting and discussing with relevant stakeholders about the marine pollution issues and what their organizations can do to reduce it.

Local level:

Names of actions:
Presenting to mayors from other islands about the importance of reducing marine pollution from any land-based resources.




Monitoring & Scientific research on marine plastic litter

Engagement in international/regional level actions for encouraging monitoring / scientific research on plastic flows and ocean surface microplastics

Names of actions:
The Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority commissioned a project to assess three key areas connecting ocean and human health:

  • Evaluation of water quality in the Majuro Lagoon based on EPA data
  • Assessment of human exposure to microplastics and dissolved contaminants through consumption of reef and pelagic food fishes.

RMI EPA was very fortunate to have the results as well as being involved with this research project.



  • Recycling system improvement
  • Proper waste management system (including lack of local capacity)
  • Data collection related to waste in general
  • Data collection related to marine plastic litter
  • Lack of awareness among citizens, business, local governments
  • Lack of financial incentives for waste treatment in general
  • Lack of financial incentives for technology development
  • Project delays due to COVID-19

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